Sunday, January 1, 2012

On Salvation and the End of Time

On Salvation and the End of Time: Two ideological constructs of Christian theology come to mind when considering topics such as salvation and the end of time: soteriology and eschatology. As for soteriology, theologians focus their studies on the Gospels' resurrection stories, which generally concern either Lazarus or Christ. In effect, salvation is a "free gift" that originates from God's divine sovereignty. And depending on one's personal engagement with Faith and free will, salvation can either be accepted or rejected. Regarding eschatology, however, people will necessarily be confronted with the choice of salvation at the end of time. To gain perspective on end times, theologians emphasize the Book of Revelation, which foretells apocalyptic events and Christ's Second Coming. In a historical context, therefore, every generation feels like it's the last one on Earth. But this kind of thinking largely materialized in the 1840s during the Second Great Awakening in Upstate New York. Encouraged by the teachings of Baptist preacher William Miller in the 1830s, people attempted to discern an exact date in either 1843 or 1844 for Christ's return. After questions about which Jewish calendar to use when calculating a date, the Millerites (as they became known) finally decided on October 22, 1844. And when Christ did not return on that date, Millerites labeled the event the Great Disappointment. An intriguing coincidence: Nietzsche was born in Prussia seven days prior to this event.

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